"I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life"
Father God, thank you for the love of the truth you have given me. Please bless me with the wisdom, knowledge and discernment needed to always present the truth in an attitude of grace and love. Use this blog and Northwoods Ministries for your glory. Help us all to read and to study Your Word without preconceived notions, but rather, let scripture interpret scripture in the presence of the Holy Spirit. All praise to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Please note: All my writings and comments appear in bold italics in this colour
Friday, March 23, 2018
‘Ready to die for Syria’:
What we know so far about gunman in southern France
Radouane Lakdim, who was identified as the man behind the shooting & the hostage situation in southern France. / AFP
The man who killed three people and injured 16 in southern France shouted he was ready to “die for Syria” as he took hostages, and had links to radical Islam, the Paris Prosecutor said. Here is what we know about the attacker.
The man, who on Friday opened fire in south-western French town of Carcassonne and took hostages in the nearby Trebes, has been identified as Morocco-born Radouane Lakdim. Lakdim lived in Carcassonne, the Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins, who is heading the investigation into the attack, said at a press conference.
Following the Friday shooting in Carcassonne, the 26-year-old stormed a Trebes supermarket “shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ and referring to himself as a “soldier of Islamic State,” Molins said. Lakdim also said he was ready to die for Syria and demanded his “brother” be released, referring to Salah Abdeslam, the only surviving terrorist suspect behind the Paris attacks in 2015, who is now in prison awaiting trial.
Molins has confirmed that Lakdim was known to police since at least 2011, when he was detained for illicit possession of a weapon. In 2015, he was also arrested for drug trafficking.
Since at least 2014, Lakdim had been monitored by the French security services because of his ties to radical Islam, the Paris prosecutor said. Earlier on Friday, the French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said that the assailant was known only for “petty crimes.” Collomb added that the man was under surveillance for some time, but that French law enforcement found no signs of “radicalization” in his behavior.
Molins, however, revealed that Lakdim had known links to the ultra-conservative Islamic Salafist movement. He added that the gunman “had been effectively monitored by intelligence services in 2016 and 2017,” and it “did not reveal any apparent signs that could lead [the law enforcement agencies] to foresee [that] he would act.”
His ties to Salafists should have been enough of a sign!
During the press conference, Molins also revealed that a female accomplice of the attacker has been detained and placed in custody. He added that she is a relative of the assailant, without disclosing any details.
Lakdim opened fire on four police officers in Carcassonne on Friday morning and then took people hostage in a supermarket in the neighboring town of Trebes. He is also suspected of killing the driver of a car in Carcassonne and stealing his vehicle before the hostage-taking. Elite French units stormed the supermarket, after they heard gunshots being fired inside, and killed the gunman.
Four people, including the attacker himself, were killed and 16 others injured in the two attacks, according to the French authorities. Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack without providing any evidence, and French investigators are now checking if this claim holds water.
Failed job of security services?
The attacks in southern France are largely a result of the French intelligence services’ failure, Charles Shoebridge, security analyst and former UK Army officer, told RT.
“If your intelligence systems fail to [such an] extent that a terrorist suspect is able to get through to his targets … there is very little that can be done to physically prevent that attack,” Shoebridge said, commenting on the attacks in Carcassonne and Trebes.
“If this person was known to police and intelligence services and was on some kind of watch list, questions should be asked about the decision-making processes” of these bodies, he added. At the same time, he pointed out that increased security measures taken by France following previous terrorist attacks carried out on its soil might, in fact, be ineffective against this kind of threat.
The state of emergency introduced in France following the November 2015 Paris attacks saw “a lot of military, a lot of police deployed to the streets,” Shoebridge noted. Even though it had a certain positive impact on the security of some particular “key points” considered to be potential terrorist targets, such as train stations or concert venues, what it really did was just make terrorists choose other targets, Shoebridge explained, adding that terrorists then focused on smaller towns where there were fewer security forces.
When Russia walked into Crimea and took over without firing a shot it was because Crimea is mainly Russian-speaking and they saw Russia as a better patron than Ukraine. Both countries are hopelessly corrupt, but Crimeans preferred Russia anyway.
In 2016, a UN vote was held calling Russia an occupying power, only 70 out of 193 voted in favor, 77 abstained and 26 nations voted against calling Russia an occupying power.
Consequently, there was no general condemnation for Russia moving into Crimea and protecting their only naval base on the Black Sea, after the western-backed coup that suddenly made Ukraine NATO-friendly. NATO, in their ambition to establish a raison d'etre, however, has been working feverishly in the last 2 years to demonize Russia pretending it is an imminent threat to Europe. They have been so effective at this that half of Europe is in near hysteria. Meanwhile, weapons manufacturers are getting even more filthy, and I mean 'filthy' rich than they already were.
I have accused Putin of desiring to rebuild the Soviet Empire and I'm not convinced that he has abandoned that ambition. But when I look for evidence of it, other than Crimea and eastern Ukraine, I'm hard pressed to see any.
The most obvious route of Russian expansion into Europe would come through the Baltic States: Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania. They have a large number of Russian-speaking citizens and some history with the Soviet Union. I have been watching for unrest among Russian-speaking people in these countries and today I finally see it.
The problem is, the unrest was provoked by unconstitutional education reforms by the government of Latvia. Their move against Russian speaking people was either provoked by the hysteria stirred up by NATO, or they were provoked by some more clandestine persuasion. In any event, it is a colossally stupid thing to do. It is poking the sleeping bear and daring him to respond. I have no doubt that NATO is behind this either overtly or covertly.
Russian-speaking minority in Latvia protests against new legislative attack on their identity
A protest in Riga against the introduction of Latvian as language of instruction in ethnic minorities schools
© Mikhail Korytov / Sputnik
Latvia’s largest opposition party has called for the reversal of education reforms that threaten Russian-language classes in the country’s schools, claiming they contradict the national constitution and international convention.
The Social Democratic Party, called "Harmony," represents the interests of Russian speakers that constitute up to 40 percent of Latvia’s population. The call to reverse the education reforms was made to President Raimonds Vejonis on Thursday.
Latvia 'purging unwanted media' by expelling Russian journalists over 'security threat' – Moscow
It followed a decision by the Latvian parliament to pass a bill that would exclude lessons in Russian from the curriculum in all of the country’s schools, including schools specifically for ethnic minorities. The only exception is for classes on Russian language and literature, or unspecified subjects “connected with culture and history.”
“The bill in its new edition contradicts not only the Latvian constitution, but also Latvia-related international documents, such as the Council of Europe’s framework convention on protection of minorities, that was adopted and ratified by the Latvian parliament in 2005,” stated Harmony’s letter, as quoted by TASS.
The convention mentioned by lawmakers provides that persons who belong to ethnic minorities have the right to study their languages, and the right to found private educational establishments. It also obliges national governments to undertake measures to give minorities such opportunities, especially in areas where the share of such minorities is large.
“The conditions set out in the convention fully match the situation in Latvia and the passed bill contradicts the convention because it provides that in several years all schools for ethnic minorities, in particular for Russians, should be banned, despite of the fact that historically there are a lot of Russian speakers living on Latvia’s territory. Apart from that, it is discriminating people on the basis of their ethnicity,” stated the open letter.
The first educational reform in Latvia that seriously undermined the teaching of Russians in the country’s schools was launched in 2004. After mass protests, the authorities adjusted the recommended curriculum and now the law allows about 40 percent of subjects in be taught in Russian.
The only official language in Latvia is Latvian and passing a language test is a strict requirement for receiving the Latvian citizenship. This has resulted in a situation whereby hundreds of thousands of people have to live with a “non-citizen” passport. Most of those non-citizens are ethnic Russians and large shares of them are Belarusians and Ukrainians, but there are also Poles and Lithuanians. Non-citizens have no voting rights, they cannot serve in the Latvian military and police and are officially banned from working as civil servants, lawyers or pharmacy salespersons.
Thursday, March 22, 2018
Rising AntiSemitism in Europe - Austria
FILE PHOTO. © Grigoris Siamidis / Reuters
Austria’s Foreign Ministry has recalled an employee from its embassy in Israel after he posted a photo of himself on Facebook wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the name of a Nazi tank division.
Weekly news magazine Falter published screengrabs of Jürgen-Michael Kleppich wearing a green shirt bearing the words “Stand your ground” and “Frundsberg”. Frundsberg is a reference to the 10th SS Panzer Division during World War II. The division was named after the 16th century German commander Georg von Frundsberg. Kleppich’s Facebook account has since been deleted.
The controversial shirt is by a clothing brand that specializes in “patriotic” apparel and markets itself as an online store for the identitarian, white nationalist, movement. Falter also reported that Kleppich previously posted a photo of his grandfather in a Nazi uniform.
Kleppich has been summoned to Vienna to “clarify all circumstances” surrounding his wearing of the shirt, Austria’s foreign minister, Karin Kneissl, told the ORF radio station. "If there is a disciplinary cause, a disciplinary procedure will be initiated,” she said.
The attaché is also reportedly a member of the right wing Freedom Party which is a junior partner in Austria’s coalition government. The party has been at the center of several Nazi-related allegations in recent years. Earlier this year a party official was forced to resign after it emerged that his fraternity published a songbook praising the Holocaust.
The state of Israel has said it will not have any direct contact with politicians from the party, which controls Austria’s foreign, interior and defense ministries as part of its government formation pact with the larger People’s Party.
What kind of stupid to you have to be to wear a Nazi shirt in Israel? And why would Austria allow right-wing nut-cases to go to Israel to represent their country? And why do right-wing nut-cases want to glorify Nazis in the first place - they were losers you know? Inhuman, lunatics, and losers! What kind of pathetic excuses for human beings would find them heroic?
Corruption is Everywhere - President of South Korea
Warrant issued for former South Korean President Lee Myung-bakBy Elizabeth Shim
Former South Korean President Lee Myung-bak has been charged with accepting more than $10 million in bribes.
UPI -- Former South Korean President Lee Myung-bak has been issued an arrest warrant after being charged with multiple counts of corruption.
The arrest warrant is the fourth of its kind to be issued to a former South Korean leader, local news service CBS No Cut News reported Thursday.
Lee, 76, faces a dozen charges, including accepting more than $10 million in bribes from Seoul's national intelligence service and powerful corporations, according to Yonhap.
The decision came late Thursday at 11:06 p.m. from Park Beom-seok, a judge with Seoul Central District Court.
Park said the arrest warrant is justified on account of the "seriousness of the crime" and "in the context in which it was investigated."
Lee has also been charged with embezzling more than $32 million that was then allocated to the "DAS" slush fund, according to No Cut News.
South Korean prosecutors submitted a 80,000-page document of evidence and argued in favor of detaining Lee in a 1,000-page statement.
Prosecutors say Lee is the ultimate proprietor of the DAS fund.
For the bribes he received he should receive at least a 11-year prison sentence, prosecutors argued.
Lee defended his legacy as president and former mayor of Seoul on Thursday in a Facebook post, local newspaper Kyunghyang Shinmun reported Thursday.
"I tried to pursue clean politics by isolating the wrong practices of the past," Lee said, adding his administration, which came to power the same year as the 2008 global financial crisis, implemented policies that prevented economic recession in South Korea.
Lee said he has "had a hard time" in the past 10 months, and added his family is "suffering" in the wake of the investigations into his case.
The former South Korean leader said "everything is my fault" in the handwritten social media post published on Thursday.
© United States Holocaust Memorial Museum / Wikipedia
Jews moved to the ghetto during WWII to avoid non-Jews, including “nasty Poles,” an ex-senator and father of the current Polish PM said. The claim comes amid the ongoing spat between Israel and Poland over Warsaw’s Holocaust bill.
“Do you know who chased the Jews away to the Warsaw Ghetto?” Kornel Morawiecki asked while speaking to Polish Kultura Liberalna magazine on Tuesday.
“The Germans, you think? No. The Jews themselves went because they were told that there would be an enclave, that they would not have to deal with those nasty Poles.”
The eyebrow-raising statement was made by the father of current Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, who assumed office in December 2017.
The ex-politician went further, touching upon another hot topic – the alleged complicity of Jews in the Nazi-led genocide against the Jewish population.
Polish authorities tried to distance themselves from the controversial remark by the prime minister’s father. According to Deputy Foreign Minister Bartosz Cichocki, Morawiecki’s comment “does not reflect the position of the government.”
Relations between Poland and Israel started to sour after Warsaw passed controversial legislation in February outlawing use of the phrase “Polish death camp.” It also blamed Poles for complicity in Holocaust crimes during the World War II. The bill attracted harsh criticism from Israeli authorities and Jewish groups worldwide.
The spat reached new levels after Morawiecki Jr referred to “Jewish perpetrators” during the Nazi era. “There were Polish perpetrators, as there were Jewish perpetrators, as there were Russian perpetrators, as there were Ukrainian and German perpetrators,” the newly-appointed PM said, responding to an Israeli journalist.
The remark immediately drew fire from his Israeli counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu, who criticized Morawiecki’s “inability to understand history and a lack of sensitivity to the tragedy” of Israeli people. Jewish groups immediately responded that the Polish prime minister definitely ‘crossed line of common sense.’
Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Corruption is Everywhere - President of Peru
The third President this week, and it's only WednesdayBy Danielle Haynes
2 Previous Presidents are also under investigation
2 Previous Presidents are also under investigation
Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski stepped down Wednesday after months of calls for his resignation. File Photo by Olivier Douliery/UPI | License Photo
UPI -- Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski announced his resignation Wednesday amid an investigation into his connection to the Odebrecht corruption scandal.
Lawmakers have called on the president to step down for months after documents revealed Brazil-based Odebrecht paid $780,000 from 2004-07 to a consulting business set up by Kuczynski.
Last week, Kuczynski said he received a $700,000 payment from an Odebrect affiliate for contacts during a closed-door congressional hearing. The payment came between his time as prime minister and economy minister, and president, something critics said was a conflict of interest.
Even his prior supporters pushed him to resign in recent days amid allegations he attempted to reward members of Congress for their vote against his impeachment.
The 79-year-old is one of the highest-ranking politicians in Latin America to face downfall over the Odebrecht scandal. In a plea deal with the United States Justice Department last year, the construction firm acknowledged it paid nearly $800 million in bribes to secure infrastructure contracts, including $29 million to Peru during 2005 to 2014. The company was fined $2.6 billion over its role in the scandal.
Impeachment proceedings against Kuczynski were scheduled to begin Thursday.
Corruption is Everywhere - French Presidential Elections
© FREDERICK FLORIN / AFP
Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy is reportedly under formal investigation over allegations that his 2007 election campaign received funding from the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
According to a source in the judiciary, Sarkozy is being investigated for illicit campaign financing, misappropriation of Libyan public funds and passive corruption, Reuters reports. According to Le Monde, several former senior figures in the Gaddafi regime have provided new evidence confirming the allegations of illicit financing.
Sarkozy, who was president of France from 2007 to 2012, denies the allegations. The former French president faced two days of questioning before being released from judicial detention on Wednesday afternoon.
The allegations against Sarkozy emerged in 2012 and a judicial inquiry was launched in 2013. In November 2016, middleman Ziad Takieddine said he transported €5 million from Tripoli to Paris in late 2006 and early 2007.
Takieddine’s statements corroborated remarks made by the former director of military intelligence of the Gaddafi regime, Abdallah Senoussi, in his evidence to the National Transitional Council of Libya, the de facto Libyan government during the country’s civil war.